Today’s article will be about the results of the next test of run-flat winter tires, carried out by the authoritative European edition Auto Bild. The German experts carried out comparative tests of twelve models of winter tires with the size 225/40 R18. They used a popular Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback as an excellent representative of the compact sports car class.
This testing is extremely curious and important in terms of road safety. In fact, in the traffic rules of the countries of Europe and the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union “On the safety of wheeled vehicles” has long been fixed prohibition on the operation in winter cars with a total permissible mass of up to 3.5 tons on summer tires.
And this requirement is more than reasonable if you remember how vehicles with unsuitable for winter roads have repeatedly caused accidents and blocked the flow of traffic on smooth crossroads and road slopes, causing many kilometers of traffic, which could have been avoided by installing winter tires on the vehicle. Recall that tires suitable for use on snow and ice can be easily recognized by a pictogram on the sidewall in the form of a snowflake against a background of three mountain peaks.
So, twelve sets of tires were tested for the size 225/40 R18 studded winter tire, the results of which were published in the November 2020 issue of Auto Bild sportscars.
List of tested models:
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM005;
- Hankook Winter, i*Cept evo3 (W330);
- Michelin Pilot Alpin 5;
- Goodyear UltraGrip Performance +;
- Vredestein Wintrac Pro;
- Falken Eurowinter HS01;
- Continental WinterContact TS 850 P;
- BFGoodrich G-Force Winter 2;
- Maxxis Premitra Snow WP6;
- Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3;
- Toyo Observe S944;
- Kumho WinterCraft WP71.
In addition, the journalists took a set of summer tires to the test to illustrate the peculiarities of the seasonal rubber on different surfaces.
Test on the snow
BRAKING. Short braking distances on slippery roads are a guarantee of safety. Michelin and its sister brand BFGoodrich offer the best braking performance in dense snow.
TRACTION. Good traction helps you start on icy crossroads, on inclines, and when maneuvering in deep snow. The Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 transmits driving power best on snowy surfaces, while competitors from Pirelli and Kumho nervously smoke on the sidelines.
SLALOM. The car reliably holds the lane in slippery corners thanks to good tire traction. Thanks to Falken and Michelin tires the test Golf obediently follows steering commands when maneuvering. However, with Kumho’s WinterCraft WP71 tires, the car quickly gets out of control in corners.
CONTROLLABILITY. With its cornering stability, decent traction, and good braking grip, the Falken Eurowinter HS01 was one step ahead in handling. The Kumho winter tire, on the other hand, is not particularly enjoyable when driving in the snow.
Test on the wet surface
BRAKING. In emergencies, every inch of braking distance counts. In addition to summer tires, winter tires from Vredestein and Bridgestone also have maximum safety reserves on wet asphalt.
LATERAL TRACTION. Tires with good lateral stability keep the car safely on the road in corners. Bridgestone Blizzak LM 005 and Vredestein Wintrac Pro impress with high cornering speed and good stability.
CONTROLLABILITY. Competitors from Bridgestone, Continental, and Vredestein provide reliable wet grip and even outperform summer tires in handling slippery asphalt. Pirelli and Toyo products, on the other hand, offer less safety in the wet.
AQUAPLANING. With wide tread grooves, summer tires offer better protection against aquaplaning. But the winter models of Kumho and Hankook also have considerable safety reserves when passing standing water. But with Continental’s WinterContact TS 850 P tires, you have a much better chance of “going free-swimming”.
CORNER AQUAPLANING. Meltwater or heavy rain can also pose a risk of aquaplaning in corners. The Hankook Winter i*Cept evo3 friction tire has the best safety reserves in this area. On the other hand, on Continental and Pirelli tires it is better to take your foot off the gas pedal during heavy rain.
Test on the dry surface
BRAKING. As you know, braking on dry asphalt is a real stumbling block for winter tires. However, all friction tires tested by Auto Bild sportscars experts offer quite acceptable braking characteristics. Compared to summer tires, one or two car lengths remain in the hidden safety reserves of winter tires.
CONTROLLABILITY. Thanks to good cornering stability, the Toyo Observe S944 unexpectedly managed to outperform the best “racers” from Michelin and Vredestein. Conversely, less convincing were the race outsiders from Falken, BFGoodrich, and Pirelli.
NOISE. The rolling noise of the tire was measured with the engine turned off at 80 km/h and 100 km/h. Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 turned out to be the quietest, while the Kumho WinterCraft WP71 offered the lowest level of acoustic comfort.
ROLLING RESISTANCE. Continental and Bridgestone tires managed to exceed the label’s “C” rating for fuel efficiency in test measurements, allowing for about 5 percent less fuel consumption.
Winter tires are getting better and better, with each new release, especially in terms of their performance on wet and dry roads. All of the tire models rated near perfect in past tests have shown convincing results, ensuring total safety and genuine driving pleasure even in harsh winter conditions.